Between 2017 and 2018, 27,226 people visited the emergency room for unintentional injuries. Accidents happen, but when they result in serious injuries, they are more than just an inconvenience. The outcomes can be devastating and life-changing, creating financial, physical and emotional hardships. If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you deserve fair compensation for your losses.
You can’t count on the insurance companies to provide a satisfactory settlement. An insurance company is a business, and it exists for profit. It serves shareholders, not customers. You may need to pursue legal options to recover damages, and a Cellino Law accident attorney in Melville, N.Y., can help you navigate the system.
Navigating a Legal Claim With an Accident Attorney’s Help
Filing a lawsuit is often a scary process for accident victims. It doesn’t have to be. When you hire a trusted attorney with experience and knowledge in your type of case, you can leave the problematic legal tasks in the lawyer’s hands while you attend to the challenges of recovering and getting your life back on track. A Cellino Law accident attorney fights for your right to fair compensation from the first meeting until your case is settled.
Conducting a Case Evaluation
The first step in the process is a case evaluation. Lawyers should always review the facts of your case and give you an honest assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. You need to be aware of the challenges you might face heading into a lawsuit. Your accident attorney should also provide you with all your options and advise you on the best way to proceed in your situation.
Communicating With the Other Side
Talking to insurance companies and defense attorneys is usually not something accident victims look forward to or have time for. When you don’t know how to communicate with the other side, you may make statements that are not in your best interests. Unfortunately, it isn’t hard to say the wrong thing, and the insurance representatives and legal counsel are adept at leading victims to say something they can use against them. Your lawyer should handle all communications with the other side.
Collecting the Evidence
Legally, it’s always up to the claimant to establish fault. You need evidence to support your claim from as many avenues as possible. Cellino Law attorneys work tirelessly to gather proof of liability, including the following:
- Statements from witnesses
- Photos and videos from the accident site
- Statements from relevant professionals
- Medical evaluations and reports
- Police and investigator reports
Your lawyer also helps you gather the documentation you need to calculate financial losses.
Calculating the Damages
Adding up the hospital and medical treatment receipts is just one component of figuring up your total losses. Potential damages also include:
- Future medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Transportation costs
- Accrued and future wage losses
- Lost earning capacity
- Counseling expenses
- Pain and suffering
Your accident attorney knows how to calculate economic and non-economic damages, including projected expenses.
Negotiating With the Defense
When you file a legal claim for an accident case, there is typically a negotiation process before the court date. The defense usually wants to avoid going to court, so they are invested in working something out ahead of time. Your attorney handles the negotiations, ensuring your rights are protected and fighting to obtain a fair settlement in your best interests.
Representing You in Court
When negotiations break down, and the other side refuses to accept a fair settlement, your accident attorney in Melville, N.Y., represents your interests in court. Though very few personal injury cases ever see the inside of a courtroom, you need an attorney who is prepared to fight for you in court and has a successful track record for other clients.
Knowing What Cases Accident Attorneys Handle
Personal injury lawyers work with accident victims pursuing legal claims to recover damages. Not all lawyers deal with all types of cases. You want to ensure the firm you choose has experience handling your specific accident category. A personal injury attorney’s most common issues are traffic, slip-and-falls and workplace accidents.
There were 9,135 traffic accidents in N.Y.C. between January and June 2022, resulting in 4,808 injuries and 19 fatalities. Traffic accident cases are the most common type of claim an accident attorney handles. Though New York requires residents to carry personal injury protection, you can still file a lawsuit if your medical and lost wages exceed your policy limits. You can also file to collect non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Falls accounted for an estimated 8,618,000 emergency room visits in 2017, making up the largest percentage of injury causes seen in emergency rooms by far. If you slip and fall on someone else’s property, you may be able to recover damages if the property owner’s negligence caused the accident. Proving these cases is tricky, so you need an accident attorney who has the experience and success in handling slip-and-fall claims.
New York law stipulates that most employers must have employee workers’ compensation insurance. Employees who get hurt on the job are entitled to file a workers’ comp claim, but they can’t sue their employers. However, in some cases, the fault of the accident lies with a third party.
The construction industry is a prime example. Construction is a dangerous job, with 505 injuries and nine fatalities in N.Y.C. in 2021. A worksite often involves multiple vendors and contractors, all responsible for maintaining a safe working environment. An accident attorney in Melville, N.Y., can help you determine if you have a right to pursue a legal claim for a workplace injury.
Understanding the Relevant Laws
Civil claims for accidents fall under personal injury law. Several statutes regulate personal injury lawsuits, some related to specific types of accidents. For instance, Chapter 28, Article 51, deals with auto insurance legalities, including stipulations for when you can file a lawsuit. However, two laws are relevant in all personal injury cases.
New York’s comparative fault law has a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Often, more than one person is responsible for an accident, including the injured party. The state requires consideration of fault percentages when determining how much of the damage award you are entitled to receive.
Fortunately, this state follows a pure comparative fault rule. You can recover damages even if you are partially to blame for the accident. However, how much you receive depends on your percentage of liability. If you are 10% liable, you lose 10% of the awarded damages. If you are 95% responsible, you only receive 5% of the settlement amount. An accident attorney may improve your chances for a more favorable outcome.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a stringent deadline on how long you have to submit a legal claim. For most personal injury cases, you must file within three years of the accident. If you don’t file in time, you miss your opportunity to pursue a lawsuit.
Working With an Experienced Accident Attorney in Melville, NY
At Cellino Law, we have the knowledge and experience in handling a wide range of personal injury cases. We also understand how important it is for victims to have an opportunity to recover their losses without further financial and emotional stress. Our firm works on a contingency basis, so we don’t get paid unless we win your case for you. Get the personal attention you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case review.